James Jones, the winningest men’s basketball coach in Yale history, has signed a contract extension that will keep him at the helm of the program through 2026, Director of Athletics Vicky Chun announced.
“I am thrilled that James will remain a Yale Bulldog! James and his family have not only been model citizens at Yale but to New Haven and the surrounding local communities as well,” Chun said. “With James at the helm, the future of men’s basketball at Yale will continue to win the right way.”
Jones, who recently completed his 20th season as the Joel E. Smilow, Class of 1954 Head Coach at Yale, has enjoyed remarkable success. His 310 career victories are tied with former Penn coach Fran Dunphy for the second most in Ivy League history. He has guided the Bulldogs to four Ivy League championships and two NCAA Tournament appearances.
This past winter, the Bulldogs finished with a 22-8 overall record, captured both the Ivy League regular season and tournament titles and nearly pulled off an upset in the NCAA Tournament before falling to third-seeded LSU.
“I’m extremely pleased and honored to receive a contract extension of this length with the confidence and belief from our Director of Athletics Vicky Chun and our President Peter Salovey,” said Jones, the longest tenured coach in the Ivy League.
Jones has led Yale men’s basketball to the most successful stretch in its long history. Over the last five years, the Bulldogs have won 102 games, the most of any Ivy League school, posted a 52-18 record in Ivy League games, captured three Ivy League championships, won the first NCAA Tournament game in school history, knocking off Baylor in the first round in 2016, and earned victories over schools from the ACC (Miami), Big 12 (Baylor) and Pac 12 (Washington, California).
Jones, who was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2015, was named the Ivy League and NABC District 13 Coach of the Year in both 2015 and 2016. This year he was the recipient of the Ben Jobe Award as the top minority coach in Division I men’s basketball presented by CollegeInsider.com.
In addition to success on the court, the Bulldogs have excelled in the classroom during Jones’ tenure. Two of his student-athletes – J.T. Flowers in 2018 and Matt Townsend in 2015 – were named Rhodes Scholars. Townsend also was selected as the Men’s Basketball Academic All-American of the Year in 2015-16. In addition, Yale has earned an NABC Team Academic Excellence Award in each of the last five years.
Jones also has been active in the community. In January, he was presented with the Polly Sweeten Excellence in Sports Award from the New Haven Farnam Center, and in 2002 he was the recipient of the President’s Award from the Greater New Haven NAACP.